Sunday, June 27, 2010

It Takes Two

It truly takes two to complete many regular tasks in putting in an air conditioner, putting the heavy wooden top on a dining table, drilling through plaster, while balancing on an unsteady ladder.

This world is really made for couples. I don't say this in a bitter, "I'm single," kinda way. It is just the truth. You don't notice until you don't have that other person.

I moved about four months ago and I can't tell you the number of arduous undertakings I have had to do alone, spending much more time on every one than I would have with another person to help.

Ah well, I guess that is why people have friends...if you can catch one, like I did today, you get an air conditioner. If not, you're hot.

Such is life.

Friday, June 25, 2010




Friday, June 18, 2010


The other night,
I pulled up behind my racism
on a one-way North Philadelphia street
I tried to dodge this force,
I tried to go around it,
idle next to it
I crashed right into my racism
on a one-way street in North Philadelphia
the sound like crashing metal and glass,
the solid materials of my fear.

Not sure how I ended up there,
in it's clutches
lost. exposed. off track.
at the mercy of this pull
My racism is a force,
I can't deny it. cover it.
It pulled up there,
surprised by itself.

no road-side assistance
gonna fix this one.
fight or flight,
I wanted to escape the pressure
I pulled into a one-way street,
found myself blocked by my racism,
and ran over it.
Two African American men approached
I was left with no denial
just glare.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Once Raging Fire

I am sitting here waiting for the weather to change, so I can take the dog out. It has been looking like it is going to storm for hours. I just read something from a good friend of mine, who referenced the "once raging fire within" being reduced to "embers." And then quickly added, as he in his wisdom does regularly, that this would most certainly change. That change is certainity. That certainity is change. He is always astute at reflecting the impermanence of things, all things.

I am cursed, or perhaps blessed, with moods that rage with joy and anger, depression, anxiety, and then are reduced to embers. It is a very painful and very frightening condition. I have been faced with a mild recurrence of this in the last couple of weeks, mainly triggered by stress at work. What if I understand this through the lense of change. That these feeling states, too, are impermanent. That impermanence in my moods is certain. What if I separate these states from compartmentalization into "good" and "bad," and just see them as so. Just so. What if I just observe, like a participant-observer visiting a strange culture from far away?

Observation would require detachment from the pain. It would also require detachment from the pleasure. Ah, there is the tricky part. This process would ask me to be present and accepting of a fear of aloneness, that most difficult of existential battles. Even more intricate...

Still waiting on the weather to leave my apartment. I am just going to venture out, the weather is bound to change.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Writing in Secret

This blinking cursor, that broken pen...obstacles to my Writing. Yeah, right, just Write. Write. Do it.

Do I really need a MFA in Creative Writing? No matter how "low barrier?"
I need to just write. To Write.

I keep my writing in the top drawer of the mahogany bureau in my bedroom. Not literally. There are no pages there, no words. But, somehow my writing is stored there. Far enough away, secret, safe.

I need to stop this kind of writing. And just WRITE. OUT LOUD. This isn't some secret addiction, this writing. Writing is a cupboard full of food stuffs, necessary to keep on going. Writing is my nutrition, my expedition, my coming to fruition. At least a completion. Right?

I have a million beginnings and middles. no ends. not yet.

Write. Write. Just write already.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Space Between

"I live in the space between chaos and shape. I walk the line that continually threatens to lose its tautness under me, dropping me into the dark pit where there is no meaning. At other times the line is so wired that it lights up the soles of my feet, gradually my whole body, until I am my own beacon, and I see then the beauty of newly created worlds, a form that is not random. A new beginning."

— Jeanette Winterson The World and Other Places: Stories

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Coffee with Virginia Satir

Taped to my mirror is a quote from Virginia Satir,the renowned family therapist, "life is not the way it's supposed to be. It is the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."

So much of my suffering and anxiety comes from rebelling against life the way it is. I know I am in trouble when my mind starts saying "that's unfair," "i don't want it to be this way; I dread this." I am training my mind to respond: "it is what it is." From this vantage point, I can see what I need to do to either accept it or change circumstances. Mostly this allows me to stop holding on with all my strength to the view of something the way I want it, and instead, to see it as it is.
This is a work in progress.

Radical acceptance, that deep acceptance of what is in the moment, does not imply that I must like what is happening. I am present with whatever emotions, thoughts, reactions come from seeing life in it's nakedness. This is not a passive approach to living. Actually it calls for mindful living, moment by moment.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This Being Human Is A Guest House

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.